Greek mythology tells the story of Sisyphus, who, in broad strokes, was condemned to continually roll a rock up a hill in Hell because he cheated death. Although few on Earth will ever be held accountable by Hades, I suspect some of you have felt like Sisyphus at one time or another. I know I certainly have.
Reasons abound for why you might feel, or have felt, like Sisyphus. Perhaps you are having difficulty at work, or are having difficulty with a relationship. Perhaps you feel stuck in a situation and have not yet figured out how to change it. Perhaps you’ve experienced a loss and are struggling with the emotional tidal wave. Without a doubt, all of these circumstances can make you feel like Sisyphus. Up the hill you push that huge rock, only to lose your footing, causing you to lose control of the rock. Helplessly, you then watch the rock roll back down the hill.
Overcome with anger, grief, helplessness or despair (choose your Gremlin), you might find yourself questioning everything. Many of us have been in that exact place (which might give you a moment of solace).
How do you change this circumstance? How can you operate differently so you feel more like Athena or Hercules and less like Sisyphus? Now, hang on. This is where the answer is simple, but, for a moment, the path gets a bit more difficult.
You must change.
You: Arguh. Are you kidding?
Me: Nope. Not kidding.
TRUTH: We can only control ourselves. Although we have the ability to influence others, we have the absolute power to control just one person – ourself.
By making one change, even if it is ever so small, the situation changes. You stop repeating history and start writing history. You stop making yourself subject to the circumstance and you make the circumstance different.
In this space, I can’t cover every circumstance to which this analogy applies. However, I can make clear that you aren’t required to carry the weight of another unless you choose to do so. Similarly, you are entirely able to let go of weight that is holding you back.
Here is my suggestion: if that rock needs to move or be moved and your efforts have not been successful, try a different tactic.
Drop the rock.